only incite good thoughts
you must speak only good words
bury the negative and sadness
it is a challenge it is a challenge it is a challenge
forget the pain following grief
remove the knife of sorrow
let yourself bleed empathy
be kind be kind be kind
say not the words you wish you could
hurt not those who love you most
try not to find comfort in destructive actions
and do not destroy yourself
false coping false hoping false coping
don’t sleep with those who aim to crush you
don’t sex yourself because that’s your only talent
see more good in you like others do
no remorse no remorse no remorse
pretend you have it all, you do
pretend you’ll make one day, you will
pretend you can’t, you can’t
"it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok.”
shun the ones who would help you
forget there are those who love you
pretend you are all alone, hopeless
I’m afraid I’m afraid I’m afraid
lay down in your dreariness forever
sleep and return to the place that made you
find comfort in nothing and nothing
and nothing and nothing and nothing
do nothing do nothing do nothing
unbridled by the concepts of “good” and “bad”, no longer constrained by grades or success, the work that has come out of my studio in the past 6th months challenges what I think of as “acceptable” in quality, subject matter and execution.
Sometimes I look at these drawings and installations and think they are the best things I have made in a while, sometimes I look at them and feel ashamed of their simplicity in thought.
Sometimes they are clever. Sometimes they are trite.
"is there life after death." was made after my mother’s death. I cut my hair the day of her funeral, and have kept it in a bag since. The growths are all natural, though I poured peroxide in the bag in an attempt to sanitize it. death feeds life. I’m thinking of adding a letterpressed poem to be displayed with it.
This last one , made last night, really shows a clear new direction away from simply portraying the female form in relation to female issues. The “male” body is as much in relation to feminism and women’s rights as any other.
Jon and I have been writing love notes back and forth. Cute right? well they turned into a short story writing exercise, and last night, after a long day in the city, we came home and had a 30 minute write off.
We had a website randomly generate two characters, a setting and a plot device (reason). Below is my short story. Jon’s can be found on his blog.
a dependable 58 year old woman
a decisive 28 year old man
setting: cruise liner
40 years. It’s been a short 40 years since I’ve seen these sorry excuses for humans. Not that I was top of my class, or that I have had a better life than them. But I like to think I’m better, at least in perspective, at least in outlook. They all easily succumbed to the easy life. Marriage, children, stable jobs. I took the rough path.
But here I am, vomiting in a toilet the size of a sauce pan, on a cruise ship, waiting for my 40 year high school reunion to happen.
I hate ships. I hate the water. I can’t swim. What the fuck do I think I’m doing here?
I’m going to get a drink. A $15 dollar drink mind you. They charge out the ass for everything here.
With the back of her hand, Donna wiped the vomit from the corner of her lips, and reached for her tank top. Sliding it over her swimsuit she looked in the mirror. Her body was long and muscular, weathered and used well, no sign of tenderness. Her thinning bleach-blonde hair reached past her shoulders. Tan and wrinkly, saggy, sun-faded, I’m like my old Chevy. I’m rusting. It had been 40 years since she saw the father of her son. The only man she ever had sex with. That was why she was here. That, and because she had never been on a boat before. Donna whispered her mantra to herself in her head, repeating it like a verbal security blanket, to wrap herself in and protect her from the strangers on this ship. Fuck the pieces of shit from high school, you’re better than that, fuck them, fuck them, fuck them…
Donna climbed up the narrow stairway from her closet-sized room and walked onto the deck. A man around her age in a pale blue polo walked towards the door she had just exited from. He stared intensely as he approached her and stopped about 5 feet away. “Sandra?” He asked as he visually prodded her features. “Sorry, no,” Donna replied. Fuck, people here are going to recognize me eventually, she thought. “Oh, I’m sorry ma’am” he said has he took a closer look and shook his head. “You looked like you could be one of my high school classmates!” He cheerfully grinned and rambled on, and as Donna tried to maneuver away, he kept her with his gaze. “You see,” he explained, though Donna needed no explanation “it’s our 40th year reunion for our high school.” Oh brother… “Oh, well I hope you and your friends have fun” Donna nervously squeaked and dashed off. “Have a good vacation!” He yelled after her.
At the bar, a young man awaited his opportunity. It will come to you, just wait. It will come… Repeating this to himself, he sipped gently on his bourbon, though he hated the taste. I’d do anything for a good beer, even a PBR would do. But he paid $20 to look cool on a cruise ship, waiting for his prey, hoping his bait would work.
Dressed well, but not overdressed, Brent had tight denim jeans with a pink collared shirt tucked in. He wore a gold cross around his neck on a small chain. He wasn’t religious, but hell, this is America, fake it until you make it was his motto. Blake pondered his surroundings and how he got here as he tried to swallow the stinging alcohol. Finding a sex partner is easy, finding someone who will do anything for you is harder. He licked his lips and straightened his back on the stool. A cougar approaches. He grinned and waved as a slender woman came up to the bar.
Donna walked toward the bar area, taking long quick strides. Gin, neat. Gin, neat. I just want a gin, neat. A young man waved at her. Donna remembered her son. Lying drunk in a ditch, poorly influenced by his mother. Scrambling to pick up his toys when he was young, so she wouldn’t beat him as hard. Dead on the road, the accidental killer of two young students. Drunk, like her. Abused, like her. Hard exterior, like her. Queer, like her. But dead.
Donna shook these thoughts and approached the bar tender. “Gin, neat” Donna commanded to the pretty brunette bartender. She showed too much perky cleavage for Donna’s tastes. “Lemme get that” said the young man beside her with an annoying grin. Donna wanted to smack it right off of him. He flashed a wad of cash and cheekily smiled at her. Donna almost protested to get rid of him, but instead accepted, hell, she didn’t have cash to throw around. “Sure, fine. But you don’t get anything from being kind to strangers,” she growled at him. “Thanks,” she said to the bartender and grabbed her drink and strode away.
That didn’t go according to plan. I thought older women wanted to be sweet talked and have their drinks bought. Blake sat in a perplexed daze for a second before deciding to go after her in the lounge. As he moved to get up, the bartender grabbed his arm, he hadn’t even said more than a few words to her, but she had been watching him, eyeing him. After 10 years on a cruise ship, she knew people pretty damn well. “Don’t you fuck around with that one” she said with a mean look in her eyes. “I know fuckers like you. You’re making a mistake.” She was warning him, but Blake, young and decisive, thought he knew better. “Please,” he puffed up and straightened his collar “I am more than capable of reeling them in.” Blake grinned and stood from his stool, trying to look macho. “Take your sassy bourbon drink and get the fuck away from my bar” she spat. Blake did just that.
The young man was walking towards her, Donna noticed out of the corner of her eye. She sat in a lounge chair around a small table; another lounge chair faced her. She could have picked a better spot, more isolated, she realized in hindsight. What the fuck does this asshole need, a blowjob? He seems desperate. Blake came towards Donna and smiled.
“Is anyone sitting here?” He gestured to the opposing chair. Donna didn’t know how to respond. “No, but if you’re asking if you can sit there… well…” she trailed off. Fuck, I need to be more harsh. He sat down. Fuck. Donna knew he was suspect, of what she couldn’t tell. “I just wanted to apologize for earlier” he started “I didn’t want to seem like I was trying to get in your pants, you see, I’m just trying to do something nice for someone.” He blabbed on.
Donna hated people that did this, just, talked, like she cared. She didn’t. “I came here to find myself you know? To be a better person, to get closer to nature,” he continued. Bullshit, this is the furthest from nature. 2000 people on a boat, eating and shitting on a 2 square mile steel prison? No, you don’t come here to get close to nature. “I think I want to be a better person, but I don’t know how,” he kept on and on. “You seemed a little stressed, I wanted to do something nice,” he smiled a broad, inauthentic grin. “I didn’t mean to seem like I was trying to get anything from you, but I must admit, you seem lovely.”
Donna was not enjoying herself, listening to this fake fuck talk. Reminds me of my classmates, she thought, some of whom were in the room with her, ignoring the ugly old woman, looking as out of place as could be, tattoos lining every square inch of her tan wrinkly skin, except her face, which was tattooed with sorrow. Donna rose out of her chair, uncomfortable. “Well, I’m glad you cleared it up.” She was terse, and felt rude for it, but knew this had to stop. She could be his grandmother, and she wasn’t into dudes anyways. And he had this creepy aura. She couldn’t shake that. His gaze was impenetrable…
“What room are you in?” He asked. Wow. Forward, huh? “I just want to know where I can find someone who understands you know?” His accent was childish, his words were not well thought out. He sounded like a pre-teen. “No,” Donna said. “I’ll find you,” she said as she bored into his head with her dark grey eyes. His were light green, and ugly.
Donna finally forced herself to find herself at the high school reunion. So far, people kept asking if she was Sandra. Did people forget that Sandra died of a drug overdose right after high school? These geezers with their posh lifestyles have the privilege of forgetting. I do not. Donna figured it was the tattoos that people must have associated with her. She had none in high school, she looked so different. Demure, cute, and innocent. She wasn’t, but at least she looked that way.
Things changed though. People did. And there was her old flame, the father of her now dead son. Talking to that young fucker who bought her a drink. Fuck. Donna thought. This was not an ideal scenario. She made up her mind and started walking over to them. Might as well kill two birds with one stone.
Momentum Tulsa this year has an intergalactic theme, pushing the boundaries of where we stand in our universe.
Today I went up to Tulsa to have a committee meeting for planning the event. Through my job at OVAC, I get to meet some really excellent people, creative minds and interesting souls. Tonight i had the pleasure of talking with two cool artists, the Ballz (Tommy & Tahlia). We talked about Life and Art and all the mysterious things in-between (OITNB, food, etc.).
In this discussion, we discussed finding our voice and audience as well as going through our career and doing the things we want to do.
I said something about my work that I have to remember when I make things in a specific context. I mistakenly said at first that my art was “too controversial” for our locale. That makes it sound as if this area is too ignorant or puritanical to handle “provocative” work. Instead I corrected myself and said that my body of work has a specific style and voice. This area has a specific historical and curatorial narrative that sets a standard by its own tastes and values. Surely my work fits in to many circles and niches in this area, and this area is supportive of variety of works.
But this area will not always be the most receiving audience for my voice. Rejection/Acceptance is not always about good/bad but fit.
It’s also about development, which brings us back to Space.
Surely I will be jumping off to space sometime. I have big goals, big aspirations, I can’t keep running on the same old Earth anymore. I need to do bigger and better things. However, I can’t just jump straight into space from the concrete. I need to build my rocket, gather my fuel, and have a supportive launching pad. This is that stage in my life. I am building my launch pad and fueling up my rocket.
the first time God entered her brain
She did so as a grapefruit
what she ate for breakfast
peeled and peppered
atop a bowl of cottage cheese
with coffee, black and
bitter, a small seed buried within
much unlike the way she treated others
YHWH Himself did manifest as
lumps in breasts, to intervene
in the life of His best servant
of compassion and love
Shakti turned her into
an Amazon and continued
a test of strength
upon one who had
made no fault to the
cold empty universe
other than to rectify its wrongs
and all things come full circle
thus God must render her
incapable by a Grapefruit
which I will eat for breakfast
peppered and peeled
atop a bowl of cottage cheese
with coffee, black and
Bean Finneran lives near a salt marsh in the San Francisco Bay area. This is an unexpected place for an artist who uses such brilliant color. The feel of the area of her home is grey, blue, and dark, perhaps begetting her surges of energetic color. The dark and dreary atmosphere must leave one yearning for something more brilliant.
Finneran is a contemporary ceramic artist, who creates intricate structures composed of thousands of thin rods of brightly painted clay. Installed on site, these structures are held together by a miraculous balance. Like many twigs of birds’ nests, the delicate ceramic spindles combine to make bursting structures that resemble piles of plastic tubes from a child’s pick-up-stick game. Their matte surface creates an illusion. “This can’t be ceramic” viewers might think, then upon closer inspection, one spies the glazed tips (often a vivid color contrasting with that of the rod) and the nature of the material is given away.
In 108 Contemporary, Tulsa’s posh, new gallery space for fine craft art, I met Finneran. Unsure what to expect, as the executive director, Ms. Kern, lead me to her, I melted as a small gentle woman, greeted me kindly, and thanked me for working in the arts. Her generosity and humility caught me off guard. “After all” I thought, “she’s the marvelous artist!” Perhaps I wasexpecting an egotist, someone who felt obligated to come, but would otherwise have no time for such a backwater as Oklahoma. As an artist, I should have known better, we all just want people to see art, and sometimes to see our art. I felt immediate shame for my less than charitable expectations. Quickly welcomed into conversation with her, I began to feel the stirrings of worry that I wouldn’t have anything insightful to say about her work, or anything worthy of the attention of such an accomplished artist.
I didn’t have to worry long, as in the middle of our conversation, a viewer backed into one of her ceramic sculptures. I held my breath. These delicate rods, so precariously balanced … surely it was all ruined. There was a crunch, and it seemed like a few rods had broken, and yet the structure remained intact. I was astounded at Bean’s casual response. She shrugged it off. “I guess we’ll have to replace a few in the morning!” she laughed. Meanwhile, people took pictures inside of her work White Ring, a ring of thousands of white rods stacked like icicles in a 5 foot diameter. She never flinched.
Her sincere attitude and peaceful demeanor enabled me to better understand her work. Upon first glance, I saw these pieces as simple reflections of a plastic age. Their vivid colors, their matte and glossy contrasting textures, as well as their sporadic surfaces with chaotic protrusions, evoked a sense of the technological unknown. But upon deeper inspection (and at closer range) one sees the very basic elements of life in her work. Geometric yet organic; these thousands of rods combine like protein chains on the electron microscopic level, or salt crystals viewed under a light microscope. In fact, one need only need to look at a cluster of grass to see how our natural environment might be both the mirror of (and the inspiration for) her work. While most of our human-made structures are meant to mimic and evoke the world around us, not all of nature’s structures are widely represented, Bean Finneran’s work expands our appreciation of nature.
Like a bird’s nest, her work seems precarious, too delicate to hold up to a strong wind. But just like the protective structure a mother swallow builds, they are meant to hold. The blue and grey salt marsh appears dull only to a foreigner. The dreary atmosphere is home to a teeming environment, full of activity and life. Look closely and you might see the neon colors that make up our world, and the thin connections holding it together.
playing with light and exposure on my webcam.